Dudhwa National Park : Your One-Stop Guide To This Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary
Living urban lives in the midst of concrete jungles, it is a refreshing and invigorating need to head towards nature; surround yourself amidst the chirping of birds and the sounds of the forest. Dudhwa is home to four of India’s hidden national reserves – Dudhwa National Park, Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary (Dudhwa Range), Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary and Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, which are separated by a few kilometres of farm lands. Dudhwa National Park is the perfect destination to revitalise your tired brain cells, and feast your eyes with the natural beauty of a wildlife reserve. Located along the border of India and Nepal, this remote national park is a spread over a vast area, and vibrant with wildlife.
Here’s all you need to know about Dudhwa National Park, and it’s beautifully quaint surroundings.
What Awaits You at Dudhwa National Park? Wake up to the sound of birds chirping, instead of cars honking in a traffic jam. Away from the familiar city sounds, Dudhwa is home to some of the most exotic wildlife species in the world. This includes the Royal Bengal Tiger, the single horned Rhino, Barasingha deer, the swamp deer, elephants. Apart from wildlife on land, there are more than 400 species of resident and migratory bird species who chirp their way around the forest in musical harmony. A delight for birdwatchers and photographers, these exotic and rare bird species are a sight for the sore eyes.
Must Do Experiences At Dudhwa National Park
1. Wildlife Safari Through The Park
The most enthralling experience, and the most obvious one, at the Dudhwa National Park is the wildlife safari. Expert drivers and guides take you to the heart of the jungle, and acquaint you with the wildlife species, which are just going about their business. Sprawled across a massive 490 square kilometres, there is plenty of area to cover on a half day safari. Catch glimpses of the majestic elephants, the single-horned Rhino, or if you’re lucky, the Royal Bengal Tiger. One can also catch glimpses of the tigers at the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, which is located in the Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary.
2. Bird Watching Tours For The Enthusiastic Shutterbugs
Choose among several bird watching trails to discover some of the most beautiful bird species at Dudhwa. You don’t have to be a seasoned bird watcher to enjoy the obvious beauty of some of these birds. As they fly in colourful hues, the forest comes alive with their musical chirping. You can walk, cycle or be driven to explore the area, and catch glimpses of both migratory and resident bird populations. Watch out for species like Kites, Falcons, Cattle Egret, Silver-Bill Munia, Baya Weavers, Kingfishers and many more. The wetlands and marshes also attract the Pied Kingfisher, the Purple Swamp Hen, the Eurasian Thick-Knee and others. The entire park is beautifully endowed with quaint little streams straight from Enid Blyton books, stunning little ponds and brooks, swaying grasslands and acres of green fields. A conducive environment for the bird species and for the camera ready folk!
3. Cycle Through The Wilderness
Take an enthralling bicycle tour along the farmlands of Dudhwa. An excellent way to get closer to your natural surroundings is by getting up close to the stunning topography. An expert naturalist accompanies you for cycling tours, and they assist you in spotting riveting images of flora and fauna. Get introduced to the local culture, as you make your way through little hamlets, where friendly locals welcome you into their homes and hearts. View the traditional homes of the region, decorated beautifully with tribal art, and ride through the serene fields along quiet country roads which not only transport you to your destination, but to a simpler, calmer time, when life was not as fast paced and tedious.
4.Up, Close And Personal With The Tharu Tribe
One thing really incredible about India is that people live so differently every few kilometres, with their own distinctive customs and traditions, languages and dialects, and socioeconomic roles in society. In the region of Dudhwa, in the midst of the jungle, resides the tribe of Tharu, which follows its customs and traditions with pride and value their surroundings more than anything. They are deeply rooted in their natural surroundings, and pass on their folk traditions generation to generation. Farmers by profession, Tharu are expert craftsmen, impeccable hunters and convey their customs through their traditional music and dance. Spend a day with the Tharu tribe and learn about their lives. The tribesmen are also proficient at training elephants. They are warm and welcoming, and offer you homemade food, as they narrate their history with so much love and joy. This is an experience worth having when you’re at Dudhwa National Park. Where to Stay at Dudhwa. A perfect way to experience Dudhwa National Park is through an exotic and luxurious stay at the Jaagir Lodge in Dudhwa. An earthy setting, with a number of activities and excursions to the nearby natural reserves, Jaagir Lodge offers a complete jungle experience.
Best Time To Visit Dudhwa National Park
While the best time to visit Dudhwa National Park is from November to May, the park remains open till the month of June. However, it is recommended to visit during the winter months, as the weather is conducive to the outdoor activity.
How To Reach
By Rail – Shahjahanpur Railway Station is around 110 km from Dudhwa and Lucknow Railway Station is around 233 km.
By Road – Dudhwa is around a 5 hour drive from Lucknow, and is accessible by road from other parts of Uttar Pradesh too.
By Air – In India, Lucknow International Airport is the nearest airport to Dudhwa, after which one must travel by road. Dhangadhi Airport, the nearest airport in Nepal is around 35 kilometres from the park.
❖ Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is open from 15th November to 15th June
❖ Winter months (December to February) can get quite chilly, so you’re recommended to carry warm clothes.
❖ Follow the park rules at any given time, and do not disturb the natural habitat of the wild animals.
❖ A jungle environment is unpredictable, so it’s best to be patient, silent and alert to catch glimpses of the animals. Remember, the park is their home and natural habitat, and it is us who are the visitors.
❖ Do not venture into the park without an expert naturalist or guide, as it can be dangerous
❖ Do not try to instigate and provoke the animals, and follow the instructions of the experts at all times.
● Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is the only place in India where a population of the northern swamp deer resides. Five species of deer can be found at the reserve.
● The man behind the Dudhwa National Park is ‘Billy’ Arjan Singh, who was one of India’s leading wildlife conservationists. It was his initiative that led to the government declaring the area a National Park, and creating a sanctuary for the Swamp Deer. The tigers were later introduced, and the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve created.
● The Terai landscape of the region is unique to the region, and it is the only park in India with this vegetation.
● Two distinct zones exist in the park – the Bhabar (hilly terrain) and the Terai (rich clay swamps and tall grasslands)
● The Terai is a globally listed Eco-region to sustain large mammal populations
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Neha Mathur loves to explore the stories behind places and people. She believes travel is the best form of education, and loses no opportunity to visit a new place. Neha writes to express stories that touch her heart or entice her mind. She’s a foodie and nothing gives her more happiness than delicious local food! She has a deep love for poetry and music, and swears by the artistic genius of Mirza Ghalib and R.D. Burman.